|Shauna Sinclair played an
important role in one our greatest triumphs in the history of Sunny
Hills Water Polo. She was always a favorite of our teammates yet
as a player she played kind of on the fringe our program. During
her first three years she played on our JV team and yet contributed more
as a leader, befriending many players as evidenced by the number who
turned out for her memorial service.
In Shauna's senior year our team had 5 dynamic returning players and a goalie who was the fastest player on our team. Not wanting to waste excellent speed by having her play in the goal, I first convinced Amber Tice that she would become a field player for the 2005 season. You can imagine how the returning players felt about Coach taking "THEIR GOALIE" and putting her in the field, but eventually all parties concerned got to the task of coming together as one of the best girls teams we have ever had at Sunny Hills. Now we had six dynamic field players, a couple of very solid young players to come off the bench and oh yeah, we didn't have goalie (pretty important position in water polo.)
I asked Shauna how she would feel about training to play in the goal. "Sure Coach, if you believe, I believe," was her response, that's the kind of person she was. In one of my most brilliant moves of all time, I told our Boy's Varsity Goalie, Bobby Verry that he was now the team manager of the girls team and his duty as team manager would be to train and coach Shauna. He agreed, (by the way Coach Verry is still on our coaching staff as of 2015, I told you it was a brilliant move on my part!) Shauna became a student of the goal. She put in far more time then most players do, in order to quickly learn the position. The result: Sunny Hills girls had their first 20 win season, we finished 10-0 in Freeway League and made it to the quarter finals of CIF (our deepest drive in the playoffs at that time.)
During our amazing season, I also made one of my greatest Coaching blunders (there have been many.) In tournament game at Canyon High School, I called time out with a one goal lead and just a few seconds left. When the game restarted I noticed a player that I wanted in the game was still on the bench. "Hurry up get in there" I said, of course the player did what I told her to do and then I realized that she was our 7th player to enter the game and of course the other team was awarded a penalty shot because I had illegally placed another player into the game. Talk about snatching defeat from a sure victory, that is one instance where the coach certainly hurt his own team. With everyone's spirits down, having lost a sure victory by the stupidity of the coach, Shauna calmly took her position blocked that penalty shot out of the pool! Thanks Shauna you really saved my bacon on that one!
I always say that measurement of a successful life is the number of people you affect along the way. Listening to countless testimonies at her memorial service, it was evident that Shauna touched many lives in a positive way. I go about my days knowing that the people I have coached are out there in the world living their lives. It comforts me to know that. Today I feel like a little piece of my heart is missing. Rest easy Shauna.